From Emily Freeman:
This younger generation is all around us, but sometimes we forget the types of things they are thinking and walking through. As a way to introduce my new book, Graceful, I wanted to encourage my peers to remember what it was like to be sixteen again.
To me, at 16:
Hey there younger me.
First, I have to answer a question you’d probably ask right away: at the age of 22, you will still be single. You’ll also have 3 fun, adorable niece and nephews, a rockin’ rest of your family, quality friends, a church you love, a college degree, and some great stories to tell. Your singleness will not define you.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I have some other things you should probably know.
You’re going to make a really difficult, but necessary choice about some friendships in the near future. I’m still proud of you for that. It’s going to suck a whole lot at the time, but trust me–it gets better. And because of your choice, you’re going to become friends with some incredible people, who you will make wonderful memories with. Be excited.
Though your college decision process will feel more like an UNdecision, it’s going to land you exactly where you’re supposed to be. Your four years there will be so full of joy at times you’ll think you might explode, and, truthfully, so full of sadness and disappointment you’ll think you might shatter. Neither of these things will happen; they will work together to make you a better person. You will learn SO. MUCH. In the classroom, but even more out of it. You’re going to learn a lot about yourself, like that you don’t like change but handle it better when you personally have a say in it, and that you value loyalty and honesty very highly, which can lead to disappointment. These may feel like flaws sometimes, but it’s how you handle them that counts.
You’ll do some stupid stuff, like staying up far too late and bailing on studying for exams to go sledding. You’ll do some really cool stuff, like visiting London and Edinburgh. (You’re going to love it. You’ll also throw up at the South Kensington tube station, your plane will get delayed 6 hours and another flight will get cancelled, yet you will count the trip as one of the best experiences of your life. As you should) You’ll do some boring, tedious stuff, like hours of data entry because you need the money. And you’ll love some of it, and hate some of it. You’ll learn from some of it, and be completely baffled by some of it. And that’s ok.
Now, some things I wish I would’ve known when I was your age:
Keep writing. It may not be necessary to post every thought and frustration on your Xanga, but write them somewhere. When you abandon Xanga for Facebook, write somewhere else. Even if no one else will ever read it.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Get over the little annoyances and take a look at the bigger picture. When you’re 22, a lot of that stuff won’t matter.
Read read read. Not just the fluffy, entertaining stuff–read the stuff you have to slog through at times, but will expand your mind and teach you things you need to know.
Learn to let go. It’s okay that some of those friendships from high school and college won’t last; the ones that DO last are the ones that really matter.
Pay attention now; this is the most important thing to know:
Even when things suck, God is at work. You might not always see it, but I’ve seen things you won’t know when you’re in the thick of a mess. He’s working it out.
“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” ~Colossians 1:17
Really; they do. It’ll tick you off sometimes when people throw Bible verses at you, but know why they do it? Cause those Bible verses are true. And sometimes you need it.
It’s all working together.
The older, hopefully wiser,